18 Aug 2017
1:12 pm

Pig-raising associations throughout the country are protesting against what they alleged as “forced” import of pig meat from the US which Americans do not eat into Thailand.

A letter of protest was on Thursday (Aug 17) sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha through Pol Lt-Gen Chinpat Sarasin, a coordinator of Prime Minister’s Office and the Interior Ministry.

Mr Surachai Sutthitham, president of Thai Swine Raisers Association, alleged the USTR had put pressure on the Thai government to narrow US trade deficit with Thailand by exporting pig meat such as intestines and pig heads which the Americans do not eat into Thailand.

However, he noted that since most pig raisers in the US use red meat enhancers such as ractopamine which is banned in Thailand, the imported US pig meat may pose a health hazard to Thai consumers.

He also said that most countries in Europe, Russia and China ban the use of red meat enhancers whereas the substances are widely used in the US.

Mr Surachai said pig raising in Thailand has substantially developed and the country produces more than enough of pig meat for consumption and there is no need to import pig meat from the US.

According to the association, the current pork supplies come from about 15 million pigs, which is enough for domestic consumption with only about 4-5 % surplus.There are about 300,000 pig farmings nationwide,

He warned that not only pig raisers would be affected if pig meat from the US is allowed to dump the Thai market, but maize farmers and animal feed producers would also be affected too.

18 Aug 2017
9:34 am

Police expect to seek the court’s warrants for the arrest of four of the six remaining southern militants who robbed six pickup trucks from a second-hand car dealer’s shop in Na Thawi district of Songkhla on Wednesday (Aug 16).

Seven militants – two of them covered up their faces while the rest did not – were involved in the daring robbery for the pickup trucks to be used as car bombs.  They stole six trucks and took the shopowner and three employees hostage.

Police said that the four suspected militants were identified by three witnesses, including the car dealer’s shopowner and two employees, one of the injured by gunshot wound.

The three witnesses told police interrogators that they believed their captures intended to kill them all because they had seen the faces of most of them.

They said the seven militants arrived at the Wang To Car Center car dealer’s shop in a pick-up truck and they rushed toward the owner and three staff members and bound them up.

One suspect who was later shot dead in a stolen pickup truck by security forces beat up Mr Prasartporn Nuanlamoon to force him to hand over six car keys which they used to drive six trucks away with the four hostages being put in the same vehicle.

After a while, the driver stopped the vehicle in a rubber plantation in Tambon Wang Yai, Thepa district of Songkhla and forced all the four hostages out of the truck.

According to the three witnesses, the suspected militant strangled Mr Prasartporn who played dead.  Then he shot once at Mr Prasartporn hitting his shoulder and then turned the same gun on the head of Mr Saharat and pulled the trigger.

Both the owner and the other staffer then ran for their lives.  

Fortunately, villagers in the rubber plantation emerged to find out what was happening, forcing the suspect to speed off.

Police found the stolen Mazda Thunder pickup truck left abandoned in a rubber plantation in Saba Yoi district after they were tipped off by villagers.

17 Aug 2017
11:25 pm

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday (Aug 17) unanimously endorsed by 199 votes the National Human Rights Commission Bill.

Under the bill, the term in office of all the commission members, including the chairman, will end as of the date of the enforcement of the bill. But they will stay on to perform their duties on temporary basis until their replacements are appointed.

Section 60 of the bill regarding the term in office of the existing NHRC members was widely debated among the assemblymen who were split in three sets of opinion.

The first opinion which was spearheaded by Mrs Juree Vichitvadhakarn, advocates the disbandment of the entire incumbent NHRC upon the enforcement of the bill, but they will continue to function in acting capacity until their replacements are appointed.  This group of assemblymen feels that the incumbent commissioners lack diversity which does not correspond with the Paris Principles.

The Paris Principles is a set of international standards which frame and guide the work of National Human Rights Institutions. They were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

The second opinion which was spearheaded by Mr Klanarong Chantik and Mrs Pirom Sriprasert, secretary-general of the NHRC, advocates that the current commissioners continue to function until the end of their terms as they were appointed by an order of the National Council for Peace and Order.

The third opinion which was spearheaded by Admiral Wallop Kerdphol calls for the current commissioners to remain in the office until the completion of three years as of the date of their Royal appointment.

Because of the split opinions, it was reported that the NLA could not reach a consensus on the contentious section, forcing the NLA president  Pornpet Wichitcholachai to call a 15-minute break to work out a compromise.

However, when the assemblymen returned to the chamber for a vote, they unanimously voted in favour of the original version of Section 60 which was written by the Constitution Drafting Committee.

The original version mandates that all the NHRC commissioners, including the chairman, will continue to function until the new set of commissioners is appointed within 320 days.

17 Aug 2017
10:26 pm

The Meteorological Department warned of flash flood, mudslide and overflowing of rivers in the northern, central, eastern and southern regions from today until Monday (Aug 21) as a result of widespread rain and heavy rain.

But people living in the western coast of the South such as Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun were warned by the Weatherman to be specially cautious because of the intense rain as well as the topography of the region which is vulnerable to immediate flash flood and overflowing of rivers.

In Trang province, officials said that runoffs continue to gush downhill from Banthad mountain range. All waterfalls in the province have been declared off-limits to visitors for their own safety.

Phangnga deputy governor Ekkarat Leesen said local leaders in eight districts had been instructed to be on the alert for flash flood and mudslide due to heavy rain in the province.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department has instructed its units in the northern, central, southern and eastern provinces to brace for flooding from today until Monday (Aug 21).

Northern provinces under threat include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan, Uttradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, and Petchabun.

Central provinces vulnerable include Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

17 Aug 2017
10:08 pm

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said Thursday (Aug 17) that massive flooding in 44 provinces since July 5 to August 16 has claimed 34 lives.

Departmenr’s director-general Chatchai Promlert said heavy monsoon rains from July 5 to August 16 have resulted in massive flooding in 44 provinces, 302 districts, 1,689 Tambon, 13,673 villages, and 43 communities.

The massive flooding has wreaked havoc to 583,448 households, comprising 1,850,403 people.

Thirty-four people have died from the flooding, and 2,754 houses were damaged, 2,401 roads submerged, and 111 bridges damaged.

For the farming sector, he said,  21,732 fishing ponds, 801,943 heads of livestock and poultry, and over 4,055,227 rai of farmland were damaged.

He said at present the flood situation has improved with now the flooding in 37 provinces has eased.

But flooding remains in 7 province, 32 districts, 200 Tambon, and 1,237 villages.

He said 43,980 households with 136,616 people are still affected by flooding.

He added that disaster officials were dispatched to the affected areas to assess the damages so that primary aids could be delivered to the people in trouble in time.

17 Aug 2017
9:48 pm

Police from the Provincial Police Region 5 on Thursday (Aug 17) arrested two men with 4.1 million methamphetamine pills and 200 kilogrammes of ketamine from a house in Mae Sai district.
The two were identified as Supachai Rungruang and Kittipong Phanchompu.
According to a police investigtion, the two delivered the drugs from Mae Sai town to a shophouse in Tambon Wiang Pha Kham in Mae Sai district.  The drugs were to be further delivered to Phrae province.
Police were investigating to find out whether they were members of any drug trafficking network and where they had taken the drugs from.
The two were initially charged with having drugs in possession with intent to sell.

17 Aug 2017
4:32 pm

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday (Aug 16) decided to put the policy rate on hold, at 1.5% to bolster economic expansion.

Decision of the MPC came after the country’s economic growth outlook brightened further on the back of the rise in exports, and service sector while overall financial conditions continued to accommodate the economic expansion.

However, risks remain, particularly the search-for-yield behaviour amid the low interest rate environment, according to the MPC secretary Jaturong Jantarangs, also deputy governor of the Bank of Thailand.

He said economic growth gained further traction on stronger growth in exports across various product categories and on continued expansion in tourism and higher agricultural output.

MPC secretary Jaturong Jantarangs

Meanwhile, the country’s domestic demand continued to increase gradually, while inflationary pressure also remained low.

Headline inflation gradually rose at a slightly slower pace than expected due mainly to supply-side factors, especially fresh food prices, which declined due to this year’s higher agricultural output following proper weather conditions, he said.

He said investors’ confidence on the US dollar declined while Thailand’s overall financial conditions remained conducive to economic growth with ample liquidity in the financial system.

This helped to continue to strengthen the Thai baht.

But  given  stronger appreciation of the baht against its regional peers in some periods, business adjustments could be affected and the baht needs close monitoring, he said.

There also needs to monitor the debt repayment by SMEs although the non-profit performance loan figures show a decline.

The next MPC meeting would look into impact from the massive flooding in the Northeast region in July.

Initial assessment of flood damage was put at 7.5 billion baht which is minimal and not a concern, as it is mostly affected the farming sector, he added.

CIMB senior executive vice president Amornthep Jawala said the MPC’s decision was what the money market has anticipated.

He said the economic recovery was mainly from external factors. But he said that as long  domestic demand remains low, the longer period the policy rate will be  put on hold.

17 Aug 2017
3:31 pm

Security was tightened at maximum today (Aug 17) as authorities ordered checks of all vehicles entering the southern towns after yesterday’s daring car robbery in Na Thawi district of Songkhla.

Security checkpoints were set up on roads leading to towns and all motorists were advised to stop and slide down car windows for checks.

In Hat Yai, Pol Col Kittichai Sangkhatavorn, superintendent of Hat Yai police, said police were deployed at all checkpoints around the town and all vehicles would be subject to checks before entering and leaving the town.

In addition police were also ordered out on the streets with loudspeakers asking the people to help watch out for unusual objects and vehicles left unattended and report to police immediately.

The tightened security came after a group of at least seven armed southern militants in two pickup trucks entered a used car shop. Acting like authorities, the men asked the shop owner for checking of the vehicles.

They then robbed six pickup trucks and drove off taking the shop owner and three employees hostages.

The shop owner and one employee escaped unhurt but one employee was shot dead and another injured.

One stolen pickup truck driven by Nuharson Arwae, a finance employee at a religious school in Pattani was shot dead as he tried to break off a roadblock in Pattani province.

Check of his pickup truck showed there was a home-made bomb in the truck. Explosive Ordnance Disposal police were called in and safely defused the bomb.

The second pickup truck, a Toyota Vigo bearing licence plate “กอ 4995 สงขลา” was planted with bomb and went off on a local road in Pattani’s Nong Chik district at about 4pm yesterday, injuring 4 soldiers.

Two other stolen vehicles, Isuzu Dmax and Mitsubishi Triton, were abandoned in Kok Pho district of Pattani.

As police searched for another two vehicles throughout the night, at 3.50am today (Aug 17), one of the stolen pickup truck–a bronze Isuzu pickup truck bearing licence plate “บห 5714 สงขลา”–exploded near Mayo Police station in Pattani’s Mayo district, injuring one police officer.

Car bomb near Mayo police station in Pattani.

Another pickup truck–a Mazda Thunder with licence plate “บง 8378″–was found abandoned in a remote rubber plantation in Songkhla’s Saba Yoi district.

Police said the pickup truck was used by suspected militants in the Aug 16 cars robbery. A search found five 5-litre gallons of gasoline, but there was no traces of explosive devices.

Fourth Army Region commander Lt Gen Piyawat Narkvanich said all security officials were placed under full alert particularly in areas  adjoining Songkhla.

Meanwhile investigation revealed that all seven militants who robbed the used car shop did not conceal their faces and they spoke Yawi dialect. Most of them were identified by witnesses and the surviving hostages.

One of them is Bukori Lamso, a southern militant active in Saba Yoi district of Songkhla who has several bounties for his arrest.

17 Aug 2017
1:53 pm

A pickup truck which is among six pickup trucks stolen by a group of southern militants from a used car shop in Na Thawi district of Songkhla yesterday (Aug 16) was used in the bomb attack near Mayo police station in Pattani before dawn today.

According to the commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 9, Pol Lt Gen Sakorn Thongmunee, two men drove the stolen Isuzu pickup truck to Mayo police station at 3.50am today but was stopped by security officials at the road checkpoint near Mayo police station.

The two persons who clad in women dress then opened the doors and ran away.

Shortly afterwards, the vehicle exploded, injuring a police officer and causing damage to nearby police accommodation.

He said security officials dared not open fire to stop the escapees because they dressed like women.

Examination by forensic police this morning showed that the pickup truck was a bronze Isuzu pickup truck bearing licence plate “บห 5714 สงขลา” which was among six vehicles robbed from the used car shop in Na Thawi district.

He said security officials have now retrieved all the six stolen vehicles and now are hunting for at least 15 suspects participating in the car robbery.

 

Stolen pickup truck used in predawn bomb attack near Mayo police station in Pattani. Read more: http://bit.ly/2wSb0oU #ThaiPBSenglishnews

Posted by Thai PBS English News on Thursday, 17 August 2017

17 Aug 2017
11:31 am

Thailand will meet Japan in today’s final match of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in the Philippines after winning Korea in yesterday’s semi-final match.

Thailand’s women volleyball team performed outstandingly in the first set, particularly Ajcharaporn Kongyot, with  a brilliant start to capture the thrilling first set 25-20 win.

In the second set, determined Thailand remained strong with  an exceptional performance of a trio of young talents in the team Chatchu-on Moksri, Pimpichaya Kokram and Ajcharaporn. The team beat Korea 25-20.

The Thai team remained in superb form, playing confidently to win the third set at 25-21.

With the victory over Korea, the world’s No.10 and the winner of gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games on their home soil in Incheon, Thailand will today go up against Japan, the team they had lost three times in a row within 30 days including two losses in the recent World Grand Prix.

Today’s final, which will start at 4.30pm Thailand time, will be the second showdown between Thailand and Japan in the top-tier Asian Championship.

In the 2013 final showdown in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand beat Japan to delight their boisterous home fans with their second Asian title. They had already claimed their historic crown in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2009.